UK Mulls TikTok Ban on Government Networks
Endpoint Security , Geo Focus: The United Kingdom , Geo-Specific
UK Security Minister Confirms Agency Is Examining App for Chinese Government Ties Akshaya Asokan (asokan_akshaya) • March 14, 2023
The United Kingdom is considering a ban on Chinese video sharing app TikTok from government networks over national security concerns, the country’s security minister Tom Tugendhat said.
Speaking to Times Radio on Tuesday, Tugendhat revealed the government is currently awaiting decision from the country’s National Cyber Security Agency before finalizing “the hugely important decision.” In particular, the cyber agency will investigate the app’s ownership, the minister added.
“We need to make sure our phones are not spyware,” Tugendhat told Times Radio. “Understanding the challenges these apps pose, what they are asking for and how they reach into our lives is incredibly important.”
The video app, owned by Shenzhen-based ByteDance, has come under increased scrutiny from European and U.S. agencies over concerns that it could promote pro-Beijing views and that it enables the Chinese government to harvest sensitive user data. The European Union, the U.S. federal government and 20 U.S. states have banned the use of TikTok on government devices.
The announcement from the minister comes a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed his government is currently looking into adopting similar measures taken by the European Union and the U.S. in banning TikTok. The government’s key concern with the app is the security, integrity and sensitivity of the user information, Sunak added.
The latest efforts from the government mirrors its growing recognition of the national security threats posed by China. In its updated Integrated Review of foreign policy and defense unveiled on Monday, the U.K described China as an “epoch-defining challenge,” noting that its key focus will be to shield Britian’s intellectual property from China.